Jun 15, 2022 - Business

Why Lego chose Virginia for its second North American plant

A rendering of a planned Lego factor in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
A rendering shows a planned Lego factory in Chesterfield County. Image courtesy of Lego

Chesterfield County is getting a massive Lego factory.

What's happening: The Danish company announced plans Wednesday for a $1 billion manufacturing plant.

  • It will be the company's second North American manufacturing plant, joining a facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
  • The plant is slated for Chesterfield's Meadowville Technology Park and is scheduled to begin producing playsets in 2025.
  • The company says it will eventually employ more than 1,700 people and pay an average wage of $60,000 a year.

Why Chesterfield?: Representatives of Lego cited the county's proximity to East Coast transportation hubs and what the company described as a skilled manufacturing workforce in the region.

  • The company said the site also has space for a solar park it says will make the factory carbon neutral.
  • The state's offer of $75 million in potential tax breaks probably didn’t hurt either.

Context: Chesterfield is already home to an array of manufacturing plants producing familiar products, including Maruchan ramen noodles, Sabra hummus and Trojan condoms.

What they're saying: "Our factories are located close to our biggest markets, which shortens the distance our products have to travel," Carsten Rasmussen, the company's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

The intrigue: Gov. Glenn Youngkin personally announced Lego's arrival at a press conference Wednesday, gushing that he loves the toy bricks. But in press materials, Lego distanced itself from some of his administration's policies.

  • The company wrote that it chose to locate in a state where the governor "is critical of renewable energy" because Virginia is one of a handful of states with a plan to transition to a carbon-free power grid — a policy Youngkin opposes.
  • In reference to Youngkin's policies opposing critical race theory, Lego highlighted its financial support for "organizations that support Black children and educate all children about racial equality."

What we're watching: A spokesperson for Lego says it remains to be seen whether the factory will include any public-facing elements like tours or an outlet store.

  • "We are currently exploring ways ... we can engage with the local community as the new facility is constructed and will be able to share more as the plans further develop," the company told Axios in an email.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Youngkin made the announcement Wednesday (not Tuesday). It has also been updated with additional details about Lego's response to Youngkin's policies.

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